Thu Dec 14 2017

Speaker Series with Sophia Vartanian and Ali MacKellar


Squamish Public Library

Speaker Series with Sophia Vartanian and Ali MacKellar
“A Clash of Civilizations? France, Islam, and the Far Right.” – Sophia Vartanian

The far right and Islamophobia are on the rise in Western democracies today, threatening political stability and pluralism. As the home of the largest Muslim population in Europe, France has had distinct experiences with Muslim immigration. Far-right political parties such as the Front National have capitalized on the apparent threat that Islam poses to French identity to gain popular support. The size of France’s Muslim population, the country’s republicanism, secularism, colonial history, and far right political traditions combine to make the French experience with Muslim immigration distinct in Europe. These various factors also shape the discrimination and marginalization that many French Muslims face. Politicians, intellectuals, and people throughout France, however, often frame these problems as the result of “intractable cultural differences”, the outcome of a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West in which Islam’s particularities prevent French Muslims from integrating into French culture and succeeding in the West. These perceptions powerfully shape reality by fuelling the discrimination of French Muslims. My research this past summer focused on these processes and experiences of discrimination, marginalization, and integration, and the manner in which history and politics affect society to produce these circumstances. Despite the Front National’s failure to gain the presidency, France must grapple with the political, historical, and social circumstances that have led to the surge in popularity for this party and its Islamophobic agenda.

“A Lesson in Logistics: Finding a Field Site and Developing a Long-Term Monitoring Program near Pemberton, BC.” – Ali – MacKellar

This past summer, the Quest Summer Fellowship Program provided me with opportunity to work with my mentor, Kim Dawe, to find and develop a Remote Teaching and Research Site in the Pemberton area. This meant that Kim and I spent countless hours creating maps in ArcGIS and developing data sheets, bushwhacking through the forest with only a map and GPS as a guide, and camping in the bush with delicious berries for dessert. This project grew out of a passion for the Sea-to-Sky region and a desire to understand how factors such as climate change and increasing human recreation and development may be impacting both the plant and animal communities in this region. With relatively few long-term monitoring programs in the area, there is no time like the present to think about ways that we can encourage members of Quest’s population to feel connected to this place, and start to understand where wildlife communities exist in the region. This summer fellows project occurred in three stages. The first involved finding an appropriate location to develop a field station for Quest’s Communities to use into the future. The second involved creating a long- term monitoring program to observe how changes may be occurring in the area over time. To do this, we placed 20 wildlife cameras and sampled plant data over an elevation gradient of 1500m. The final step included collecting baseline data to begin data visualization and assess whether the protocols developed during year one need to be adjusted and improved for future years.


Join them at the Squamish Public Library

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